Looking good in August
As we transition into August from July there is a changing of the guard when it comes to flowers.
All the fabulous fresh lush colour and foliage of June is now starting to look a bit of a mess and flowers and plants are starting to go over over.
So a multi tasking post today. Top 5 things to do this month to keep your garden looking good and my Top 9 favourite flowers that will be looking good in August, and beyond.
Early August - Top 5 maintenance essentials
Dead head, dead head, dead head. Daily. Wander around at the end of the day with a drink of whatever and dead head the spent blooms, chuck a few slugs and snails away and go to bed at peace with the world.
Always cut down to the next bud, branch, stem - just like this Cosmos and rose above
2. Remember to water and feed containers - especially hungry plants like Dahlias, Cannas (and tomatoes).
3. Stake perennials that might be flopping over. Ideally you should have done this a few months ago in preparation. But hey, life is busy and I never do it early enough or good enough. Get those steel stakes out and get fluffing. I like Leander rusted iron plant supports as they disappear in the foliage and last forever. (www.leanderplantsupports.co.uk)
4. Take cuttings of frost tender perennials, so that if you lose them over winter, you have more ready to go next year. For me this means taking cuttings of Pelargoniums, Salvias, (especially Amistad) and Penstemons
5 simple rules. Cut just above an emerging set of buds (pic 1). Take a non flowering cuttings. Strip off all the leaves apart from those at the top (pic 3). Dip the cutting into a very open medium, like a mix of compost and perlite (pic 4). Water - and grow inside, in your greenhouse, or window sill.
5. Be ruthless and cut things back -if you haven't already. Plants like hardy geraniums, will now be looking tired, leggy and messy. Shear then right back to the ground, give them a feed (liquid seaweed) and in 2 weeks the leaves will be back looking green and fresh. You may even get some more flowers - although here in the North West, I never have.
These are easy jobs, that have a big impact. On that vein, here are my Top 9 (because it looks better than 10...) August blooms, that again have big impact in helping your garden still look great in August. Half of these star in my blue / pink cottage garden area - and the reds / yellows add drama to the grass and tropical beds. Plan ahead and you'll have colour all year round.
My favourite August blooms
L-R clockwise. Agapanthus, Verbena bonariensis, Eupatorium, Dahlia Karma Choc, Helenium Moorheim beauty, Helianthus Lemon Queen (bit of a thug), Tithonia (annual), Cosmos (This one is Dazzler, but I grow about 4 or 5 different ones and colours every year) and Echinops Taplow Blue.